What Do You Need to Start a Career in Health Psychology

There are many psychological and behavioral variables that can have an impact on one’s physical well-being. The mind and psyche are extremely powerful elements of the human body and while disease and illnesses can directly impact your physical health, so does the human mind. The study of how the mind can influence prevailing medical conditions and health is called health psychology.

As a health psychologist, you will be involved with developing tools and techniques to prevent illnesses through behavior and habits. You will also research and explore those behaviors and mental experiences that promote positive health and improve the quality of life. A great deal of time and effort will be spent by way of research, exploration and examination with the sole purpose of promoting positive health through ones psychology.

Why College Education is Important?

You must have heard the elders in your family as well as your teachers talk about the importance of education and higher studies. A lot of emphasis is given on further and continued education because it opens doors and provides opportunities to students that may be otherwise unavailable. With the right academic qualifications under your belt, looking for jobs and making a name for yourself in the industry may become easier.

Headhunters, potential employers and recruiters are always on the lookout for qualified candidates as it is believed that these candidates are thoroughly trained in the academic field and have the right credentials to perform well on the job. This is why if you want to start a career in health psychology, you will need the required academic qualifications to gain entrance into the industry. From that point onwards you must work hard and stay involved in the academic field to constantly improve your credentials.

What are the Degree Options and Requirements?

The first step in becoming a health psychologist starts with getting the most basic degree at the undergraduate level. This is most often a bachelor degree because of the well-rounded and through approach offered by the curriculum. To get admission into a reputable bachelor program, it is important to have a high school diploma with some exposure to science subjects.

Some students may prefer to get a bachelor degree in general psychology and choose to focus on health psychology at the master’s level. On the other hand, some students may opt for a diploma or an associate degree that focuses on health psychology. In either scenario, an undergraduate degree may be sufficient for an entry level position or that of an assistant’s. A bachelor in health psychology should help you develop a solid foundation which will help you in the future.

A master in health psychology provides a more focused approach on this niche of psychology. Possible courses that you may come across are chronic conditions, psychological aspects of healthcare, quantitative research methods, epidemiology, behavioral analysis, delivering healthcare, stress management, and so on. To gain admission in a master’s program in health psychology, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree. You may be required to have some practical exposure in the form of internships or supervised training.

A doctorate in health psychology is the next step to bettering yourself and adding a feather in your cap. This level of degree is focused on advanced concepts and applications in health psychology and entails quite a bit of research. Most doctorate level programs require students to submit an original research project which could be a thesis paper or a dissertation. To get into a health psychology doctorate program you will need to have a master’s degree and anywhere between 2 to 5 years of practical work experience.

What is the Career Outlook?

Psychology is a field that is experiencing growth and expansion. Overall, the employment growth is psychology is expected to be 14% during the period between 2018 and 2028. Individuals, societies and companies continue to turn to psychologists to help them manage their mental and psychological problems. The average annual salary for clinical health psychologists is roughly $79,767 (payscale.com). This figure is greatly influenced by level of experience, type of clients, and the number of cases you have worked on. As you gain market experience, you may enjoy greater returns.

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